Purchasing a regular plane ticket will reserve your spot in economy class where the seat is two inches too small and the passenger in front is adamant on adjusting the recline setting every two minutes. Giggling several rows behind is an adorable baby that transforms into the loudest baby within minutes.
About an hour into the flight, air hostesses wheel out the meal carts and the beverage selection. The piping hot lasagna burns the roof of your mouth and a little drop of red sauce lands on your shirt. The plastic glass filled with soda nearly spills all over the place while you squirm in your seat in an attempt to find the most comfortable position.
For more than ten times the price of an economy ticket, you can discover an entirely new experience in the exclusive first class cabin where extra legroom is not even a question. These roomy suites are much like Upper East Side penthouses for passengers thousands of feet in the air.
1. Emirates Airlines
With flights from New York to Dubai valued at $19,000, the first class cabin on Emirates A380 delivers an unmatched level of luxury. For some travelers in select cities, the pampered journey begins with complimentary chauffeur service to the airport where they speed through check in, zoom through security lines, and wait for boarding in exclusive upscale lounges.
As an airline group based in Dubai, Emirates Airlines evokes the same opulence felt around the glamorous city in its first class cabin. Gentle sliding doors enclose each suite aboard A380, creating a peaceful private environment for passengers. The reclining chair expands into a fully flat bed complete with a mattress pad and duvet cover. Passengers can create their own movie theater by switching on the ambient lighting, pulling a drink from the personal mini bar and choosing a film from the extensive entertainment collection.
Emirates first class gourmet dining defies the stereotype that all plane food is bland. Travelers can order room service to their private suites or stretch their legs on a short walk to the A380 Onboard Lounge where they can mingle with other passengers, sip on some drinks and fill up on mini appetizers. The indulgence continues 40,000 feet in the air with the onboard heated Shower Spa stocked with a selection of Bvlgari toiletries that reenergize passengers before landing.
2. Etihad Airways
Revolutionizing air travel, Etihad Airways combines a high level of elegance with supreme comfort to create a memorable experience for passengers in its “First Class Apartments.” Based in Abu Dhabi, Etihad introduced its apartment styled cabin at the end of 2014 and is one of the first airlines to design its A380 cabin around a single aisle configuration.
Continuing its atypical design within its actual apartments, Etihad apartments include a large leather armchair and a separate bed furnished with a natural mattress and cotton sheets. The turn down service coupled with the “do not disturb” setting helps to enhance passengers’ sleep quality, ensuring that they are refreshed when they wake up
The apartments are also furnished with a vanity unit complete with a lit make-up mirror and full-length wardrobe. Etihad also provides its first class passengers with complimentary loungewear that will help keep their travel clothes wrinkle and stain free. With access to the exclusive first class bathroom, travelers can take a quick rejuvenating shower and wash off that airplane grime before descending.
Recognizing that a handful of passengers travel with friends or partners, Etihad’s first class cabin includes six interconnecting apartments that make sharing a meal or having a conversation much easier and intimate. On the Upper Deck of the A380, the Lobby is a space for up to six passengers to host business meetings, socialize with snacks and beverages, or watch live events on the widescreen TV.
3. Singapore Airlines
As the competition to provide the most luxurious first class cabin experience intensifies, Singapore Airlines is determined to give its passengers all the privacy they could ever want. Warm suites designed by French yacht designer Jean-Jacques Costa emit a cozy, intimate atmosphere with its sliding doors and window blinds.
The generously large leather armchair is not meant for reclining or sleeping. When the time comes to snooze through the flight, flight attendants come to tuck you in on the separate bed off to the side that is decorated with soft sheets and plush pillows. Partners traveling together can easily convert adjacent suites into double rooms, fashioning a full size bed.
Designed for a multifunctional purpose, first class suites aboard Singapore Airlines include a chaise lounge and a large table that make dining with fellow passengers or meeting with business executives much simpler. Crafted by a culinary team of experts from all corners of the world, meals served on Singapore Airlines are more like a treat for your taste buds than it is for you. Artistically plated on fine white china, these meals can be reserved up to 24 hours before departure.